Coronavirus

Study: Virus Milestone Was Reached Weeks Ago

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Officially, the United States recorded 100,000 coronavirus deaths last week and we're likely going to hit 110,000 within the current week, but we know that's an undercount.

How much of an undercount is it?

Researchers at Yale's School of Public Health say we actually crossed the 100,000 threshold in the first week of May and the official toll may be missing as many as 26,000 deaths.

Between March 1 and May 9, the nation recorded an estimated 101,600 excess deaths, or deaths beyond the number that would normally be expected for that time of year, according to an analysis conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health. That figure reflects about 26,000 more fatalities than were attributed to covid-19 on death certificates during that period, according to federal data.

The National Center for Health Statistics' estimates are higher.

The NCHS is conducting its own analyses of excess deaths during the pandemic and has also reported numbers well beyond the government’s official covid-19 death toll, but with a wider range of estimates. The agency estimates there were between 89,257 and 119,706 excess deaths from Feb. 1 to May 9.

The NCHS analysis differs from the Yale estimates in several ways: The government analysis does not account for the intensity of flu epidemics, and it seeks to account for the lag in death reporting by estimating the number of deaths that will eventually be tallied when data is complete.

Unless we replace Trump in November, I firmly believe the federal government will never recognize a higher number.

It's been done before. You may recall that, officially, the Trump regime said the death toll of Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico in 2017, was fewer than 100 when it was actually close to 3,000. Truth itself is on the ballot in November.

The official death toll has slowed, but I'm concerned that's not going to last. Reopening the economy was always going to give the virus a shot in the arm, but when I looked at images of protests across the country, my very first thought was that the coronavirus is still out there. And, moreover, the virus is more likely to kill black Americans who are protesting not to be killed by the police.

That's ironic, for a lack of a better term, but it's not funny. None of this is. It's a cruel joke and even the things Trump is not directly responsible for, like systemic racism that's as old as the United States itself, he's still making it worse.

  • muselet

    Excess mortality is an imperfect measure of the direct impact of Covid-19, since it includes the deaths of people who didn’t seek medical care for non-virus–related reasons. As a measure of the direct and indirect impact, it’s obviously the best.

    Covid-19 deaths in the US are flat and have been for some time. Dumb governors easing public-health restrictions are guaranteeing a bigger and earlier second wave than we would otherwise have gone through. And yes, the protesters are risking infection; on the other hand, scheduling the latest horrific death in police custody is tricky at best.

    I hate this timeline.

    –alopecia